Research by Jeanette Schofield.
Colo Vale is a Northern Village of the Southern Highlands of New South Wales, in Wingecarribee Shire. It is situated approx. 1km from the freeway and 10km from Mittagong.
Colo Vale has a population of approximately 3,000 people (not yet confirmed by 2016 census).
The surrounding area is part of the Parish of Colo which includes the villages of Aylmerton, Willow Vale, Alpine and Yerrinbool.
The social reason for the settlement of the colony of New South Wales was the overcrowding in British jails following the American Independence which had caused the transportation of convicts from Great Britain to cease. And so the first colonists arrived in Botany Bay on 18th January, 1788 in the first fleet – 763 convicts, 211 marines and officials, wives and children, making up the total of 1,030 people.
The urgent need was for locally grown food as the ships continued to bring more convicts but not enough supplies. Farms were set up close to the original settlement Sydney but were soon exhausted.
A bush road through the Bargo Bush was described as being “composed of wretched barren soil totally unfit for grazing, scarcely worth clearing”. A new road surveyed by Major Thomas Mitchell in 1831 was built by convict labour, branching from the original road to the Little Forest, up the Mittagong range and then on to Berrima and named The Great Southern Road.
The first land purchase (six hundred and forty acres) researched, was made on the 26th June 1841 by Samuel Moore of Moorebank. This land is on the southern side of present Church Avenue and bounded on the east by the Hume Highway, the west by the partly unmade Lynwood Avenue to the corner of Ferndale Avenue, then east to the highway.
The village was formerly a station on the Main Southern Railway, until the line was deviated in 1919 to a less steep alignment with easier grades and the original line became the Picton Loop line. Colo Vale railway station, though disused, has been restored and is in good condition.
The word Colo is believed to be an Aboriginal word for “a hill formed by volcanic rock”, thus in 1837 when John Kiernan purchased some land (not researched) where modern Colo Vale is, he called it Colo. In addition, this name became the official Parish name for the area.
During the early 1860s increased settlement occurred due to the rich soil which derived from decomposing volcanic rock.
St. Pauls Anglican Church built in 1884 which still stands today. The first school was built in 1911. In 1923, Colo Vale was settled by English migrant poultry farmers. In 1954, Colo Vale had a population of 121 people with 37 dwellings.
Now Colo Vale has a mixed-business general store and many home based businesses are situated within the town, including hairdressers, small manufacturing businesses, and a large native plant nursery.
Colo Vale also has a public school and a sporting oval. It includes community facilities, sporting fields, tennis courts, a community hall, a Rural Fire Station and a Service Station.